That was the defending Class AA state champions in town Wednesday afternoon.
Butte High coach Ryan Stosich, however, said his team did not do itself any favors as the Bulldogs dropped both ends of a non-conference doubleheader at Stodden Park.
Belgrade outslugged Butte High 19-8 in the opener. The game was called after five innings by the 10-run rule. The Panthers improved to 4-1 on the season with a 9-1 win in the nightcap.
“The biggest thing we have to clean up is our defense,” Stosich said. “You can’t have a 10-run third inning. It’s not just one or two, it’s across the board. You can’t give extra outs and expect to be in the game.”
The Bulldogs fell to 0-4 on the season, and Stosich said his team is taking no solace in the fact that Butte High has only played non-conference games.
“You can’t sugarcoat it,” the coach said. “The kids feel it, and the coaches feel it.”
Butte High can take some positives out of the sunny, but cold-and-windy afternoon. Butte High’s offense opened up for 12 hits in the opener, and that included a pair of doubles by senior shortstop Kodie Hoagland.
In Game 2, freshman Ashlinn Mullaney showed more flashes of promise pitching and hitting for the Bulldogs.
“We hit the ball pretty well,” Stosich said. “Our defensive just kind of stunk. You’ve got to make the routine play.”
Things get real for the Bulldogs on Friday. Helena Capital will be in town for a 4:45 p.m. Western AA battle at Stodden Park.
Belgrade 19, Belgrade 8, (Boxscore)
Shaylis Osler and Ella Seaman homered to lead the way as the Panthers put up a 10 spot in the third inning of the opener.
That rally blew open a game that was 2-all heading into the frame. Butte High answered back with six runs in the bottom of the inning to get back into the game.
Belgrade, though, scored three in the fourth and four fin the fifth to put the game away.
Arin Eaton and Broddyn Ragland each smacked three hits for Belgrade in the win. Osler added a double, while Tycelee Bowle hit a double and a single. Abbie Morin roped two singles.
Seaman got the win despite giving up eight runs. Tayler Thomas closed the door with two scoreless innings.
Hoagland had three hits and two RBIs at the top of the Bulldog lineup. That included two doubles.
Rian Ferriter joined Mullaney with two singles for the Bulldogs. Bryn Godbout, Gracie Ferriter, Madisyn Swanson, Joscelyn Cleveland and Kamber Leary heat singles. Leary drove in three runs.
Ferriter took the loss for the Bulldogs. Ashby Lee also pitched for the Bulldogs, who surrendered eight unearned runs in the loss.
Belgrade 9, Butte High 1 (Boxscore)
Eaton cooled the Butte High bats in Game 2. The Belgrade ace struck out 13 batters and scattered two hits in the victory.
Eaton also tripled as she drove in two runs on two hits. Seaman hit a double and a single while driving in two runs. Thomas and Bowle each hit two singles for the Panthers.
Leary and Taylor Drakos singled for the Bulldogs. Godbout knocked in Drakos for Butte’s lone run in the sixth inning.
Mullaney pitched six innings in the loss. She gave up eight runs, seven earned, on eight hits. She also struck out seven and walked four.
Godbout pitched the last frame.